MEMPHIS — The College of Adult Professional Studies (CAPS) at Christian Brothers University (CBU) will conduct the inaugural classes this fall for its new two-year Associate degree programs — the Associate of Arts in Professional Psychology, the Associate of Arts in General Studies and the Associate of Science in Business Studies.

CBU’s Associate programs are designed to provide a solid understanding of foundational skills in each degree area, while providing a variety of elective courses that allow students to customize their education to their interests. Classes are offered in a blended format giving you face-to-face time with faculty and peers on CBU’s midtown Memphis campus once a week along with the freedom to do additional coursework online.  Credits may be transferred from previous educational experiences, and the associate degree programs also provide a solid foundation for bachelor’s degree course work.

“CBU is dedicated to helping raise the number of well-educated and fully-trained college graduates available to the Memphis workforce,” said Toni Ross, Dean of the College of Adult Professional Studies. “We realize that some adults may not be ready or able to commit to a four-year degree program yet, but they still want to further their education. By offering these two-year Associate degree programs, we’re providing an opportunity to do just that. Since this could also be their first step toward an eventual Bachelor’s degree, we’re additionally offering them a seamless transition within a long-established and highly-esteemed university.”

All three Associate degrees require a total of 66 credit hours in General Education and major-specific requirements that include courses in writing, mathematics, science, social sciences, religious studies, speech, foreign language, and computer skills. The Professional Psychology degree also includes courses in cultural anthropology, human development, personality and psychopathology. The Business Studies degree includes additional courses in accounting, business law, economics, management and marketing. The General Studies degree, which is designed for exposure to multiple fields of study, allows students to fill the remaining 24 credit hours with electives.

The College of Adult Professional Studies (CAPS) has already established two new baccalaureate degree programs, the Bachelor of Arts in Professional Psychology and the Bachelor of Science in Business Studies, both of which share the first two years curriculum with the corresponding Associate degrees.

Program start dates will be in January, March, June, August, and October. More information on the College of Adult Professional Studies at CBU is available at or at (901) 321-3291.

Posted in Academics, Admissions, Adult Professional Studies, Press Releases

Nick Peña, What Lies Beneath (Slow Creep), oil on canvas.

Nick Peña, Associate Professor of Art at CBU, is currently exhibiting his paintings at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens. The exhibition, titled “Processing the Ideal,” features large-scale paint­ings that re-visualize perceptions of the “American Dream” and the effects that pursuit has on our environment.

Many of Peña’s paintings begin with personal nostalgia and culminate in serious, social, or polit­ical inquiries. He considers both changing social norms and the physical appearance of the American landscape in his work. “Processing the Ideal” presents an interesting conundrum and questions if the ground that we live upon is both physically and ideologically solid.

“Each painting is set up with a similar schema that includes a house as a symbolic ideal of family and home ownership that is juxta­posed with an environment that is familiar yet, equally fragmented, abstracted, and strange,” Peña says. “The result is a series of images that represent the solidarity and stability of our personified 30-year fixed rate mortgages and the leftover fragments of waste that lie beneath them.”

“Processing the Ideal” is on exhibit through October 5 at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens (4339 Park Avenue). More information at

Review of “Processing the Ideal” in The Commercial Appeal (August 19, 2014) »»

Posted in Academics, Events, Exhibits, Faculty & Staff, Memphis Community, Press Releases, School of Arts

MEMPHIS — Six De La Salle Christian Brothers affiliated with Christian Brothers University (CBU) will be among the 21 being honored by the Midwest District for their Jubilee ceremonies on July 19 at Lewis University in Romeoville, IL.

Brother Robert Staub, Professor Emeritus in Biology, entered the Christian Brothers in 1939 and is celebrating his 75th year. He received his B.S. in Biology from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and was given his first teaching assignment at De La Salle High School in Minneapolis. He received his M.A. and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He has taught in schools in Minnesota, Missouri, Illinois, and Tennessee.

Brother Joel Baumeyer, Professor Emeritus in Mathematics, entered the Order in 1954 and is celebrating his 60th Jubilee. He received both his B.A. and M.Ed. from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and his M.A. and Ph.D. from St. Louis University. Brother Joel has taught in schools in Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, and Tennessee. He presently serves as Math Center Director since his semi-retirement in 2011.

Brother Mark Gubbels, Retired Business Office Manager, entered the Brothers in 1954 and and is celebrating his 60th year. He completed his B.S. and M.Ed. at St. Mary’s University. Brother Mark has taught in the Brothers’ schools in Missouri, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Tennessee. He came to CBU in 1981 and retired in 1999. He is now in his 16th year of volunteering at the Church Health Center.

Brother Bernard LoCoco, Trustee and Former CBU President (1973-80), entered the Order in 1954 and is also celebrating his 60th Jubilee. He holds an honorary doctorate in Humanities from Christian Brothers University and one from Lewis University. He also holds three master degrees — one in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University, Counseling and Guidance degree from the University of Missouri in St. Louis, and Education (Biology) from St. Mary’s University. Brother Bernard was Provincial of the St. Louis District (1980-84) and president of the School of Applied Theology in Berkeley, CA (1999-2009).

Brother Joel McGraw, Assistant Principal at Christian Brothers High School, joined the Christian Brothers in 1964 and is celebrating his 50th Jubilee. He is a native Memphian and a graduate of CBHS. He holds his undergraduate degree from CBU and Master’s degrees in English and Educational Administration from the University of Memphis. He has taught at schools in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Tennessee and has served as a board member for CBU, Memphis Catholic High School, Immaculate Conception Schools, and St. Louis School.

Brother Robert Veselsky, Former Director of Campus Ministry, entered the Order in 1964 and is also celebrating his 50th year as a Brother. He holds a B.A. in Sociology from Lewis University, a Master’s degree in Religious Education from St. Mary’s University, and a Master’s in Pastoral Ministry from Loyola University. Brother Rob has also served as a University Minister at Lewis University and as Principal of De La Salle at Blessed Sacrament Elementary School in Memphis. He is currently a part-time Associate University Minister at Lewis.

Also celebrating Jubilees are Brother Basil Rothweiler (his 80th Jubilee!), Brothers Joel Dolan and James McDonald (their 70th), Brothers Ralph Heppe, Andrew Jacobson, Damian Steger (their 60th), Brothers Peter Hannon, Douglas Hawkins, Thomas Johnson, Paul Joslin, Paul McDonough, Paul Meyer, Lawrence Oelschlegel, Michael O’Hern, and Michael Schain (their 50th).

The Jubilee celebrations will be held at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 19 with a Eucharistic Liturgy at the St.Charles Borromeo Pastoral Center in Romeoville, IL with a reception following at the Lewis University Fieldhouse.

Posted in Administration, Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Lasallian, Press Releases, School of Sciences, Student Life

MEMPHIS — Christian Brothers University (CBU) hosted an event promoting comprehensive immigration reform on July 9 in the Wilson Family Commons of the Living Learning Center on the CBU campus. Billed as part of “A National Day of Action for Immigration Reform,” the event featured several speakers who urged the government to act on this issue, including Dr. John Smarrelli, CBU President; Lacy Upchurch, President of the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation; Andre Dean, Vice President of Community Development for the Greater Memphis Chamber; and Mauricio Calvo (CBU Class of 1997), Executive Director of Latino Memphis.

Smarrelli opened the event by relating that his parents were immigrants and that “these issues were crucial then and they’re crucial now.” He spoke of the impact on higher education in Tennessee, stating that more than one third of master’s and PhD students in the STEM fields are foreign-born temporary residents on student visas. “At CBU, we are very proud of what we do in our science and technology and engineering curricula. But we are hampered by lack of immigration reform and immigration policy.” Because of caps on permanent visas, he continued, many foreign-born students graduate from American colleges and are forced to take jobs elsewhere in the world.

Upchurch, speaking for the grassroots membership of the Farm Bureau, stated that immigration reform “must include fair and workable farm labor provisions and needs to ensure an adequate supply of farm labor.” Noting that today’s consumers want locally grown food, he said that labor and immigration reform would help assure that our food supply is produced on a local level. The problem reaches far beyond the concerns of the agricultural community, he stated. “Fixing the immigration system is critical for economic growth. Study after study shows that immigration reform is an economic driver and would boost growth.”

“We Americans pride ourselves on being global thinkers,” Dean said in his remarks. “We aspire to being part of a global economy. It’s time to back up that thinking with a modern immigration system that can attract and keep in the United States the world’s top students, innovators, entrepreneurs, and job creators.” He noted that, due to the retirement of millions of baby-boomers, American companies are beginning to face a shortfall in trained and qualified workers on all levels of the employment spectrum. Immigration reform “would provide a bigger talent pool at a time when we need it,” he said.

Calvo pointed out that “We are a nation of immigrants, and we need to foster that.” As a graduate of CBU, he also referred to the Lasallian tradition and to the tradition of all faiths. “People of all faiths realize that this is the right thing to do,” he stated. Like Upchurch, he also called for action from Congress and urged them to “stop kicking the ball from one side to the other” while families are suffering and business are hurt. “We are smart enough to come up with a solution where we find compromise,” he said.

The event was part of a national collaboration between the Partnership for a New American Economy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Farm Bureau Federation, Business Roundtable, AmericanHort, National Association of Manufacturers, and Western Growers to host a day of action to deliver a message to Congress that immigration reform is an economic imperative this year, with a national press conference in Washington, DC and events in 40 key districts across the country.

Posted in Administration, Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Lasallian, Memphis Community, Press Releases

MEMPHIS — Christian Brothers University Director of Athletics Brian Summers has announced the promotion of Donna Crone to Associate Director of Athletics for Compliance.

Crone has been Assistant Director of Athletics for Compliance for five years, also serving as Interim Director of Athletics from October to June after the death of Joe Nadicksbernd.

“In conjunction with President John Smarrelli, I am pleased to elevate Donna Crone to Associate Director of Athletics,” said Summers. “Donna has served CBU as an athlete, coach, alumna and distinguished athletics administrator. This promotion recognizes her commitment to CBU athletics and our student athletes, and her integral role in our athletics administration.”

“I’m excited about the new opportunity,” Crone said. “Last year was a tough year after losing Joe, but I’m looking forward to working closely with Brian to bring CBU and CBU athletics to the next level.”

A two-sport athlete at CBU, Crone has been the school’s Senior Woman Administrator for 13 years. She serves as a member of the NCAA Regional Advisory Committee for women’s golf, and she is the GSC liaison for men’s and women’s golf. She previously served a three-year term on the NCAA Regional Advisory Committee for softball.

Crone was CBU’s head softball coach for 10 years, coaching 16 All-GSC players and two GSC Freshmen of the Year in her time. The all-time winningest coach at CBU, Crone led CBU to its four highest season win totals.

Crone played basketball and tennis for CBU, graduating in 1983. She earned her Master’s of Business Education from the University of Memphis in 1988. Her family has deep ties to the school. Her husband, Chris, is a 1976 CBU graduate. Her daughter, Kristen, is a 2011 graduate and is enrolled at CBU pursuing her master’s degree, and her son, Justin, is enrolled at CBU as well.

Posted in Administration, Athletics, Faculty & Staff, Press Releases

Trey Casey and Alison Welch

MEMPHIS — The Gulf South Conference recognized two Christian Brothers University student-athletes in its Top Ten, as junior basketball player Trey Casey (Cincinnati, Ohio, La Salle HS) and senior volleyball player Alison Welch (Olive Branch, Miss., Olive Branch HS) were named finalists for the Commissioner’s Trophy, the GSC’s highest individual honor, which recognizes success on the field, in the classroom and in the community.

Casey was a first team All-GSC performer for the Bucs this season, averaging 17.9 points, 2.8 assists and a GSC-best 2.2 steals per game. He was a First Team NABC All-South Region player, and he was voted to the Daktronics All-South Region Second Team. But as lofty as his basketball success has been, Casey’s work in the classroom has been even better, as he carries a perfect 4.0 GPA in business administration with a concentration in finance. Casey was the only student-athlete in the GSC in 2013-14 to earn Capital One First Team Academic All-America honors in any sport. Also the men’s basketball representative on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), he helped lead CBU’s fundraising for Make-A-Wish, and he worked with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis’ ReStore.

Welch was a starter and team captain, leading CBU to its most successful run since joining the NCAA. She was a part of two NCAA Tournament runs, the school’s first ever South Regional in 2011 and then the school’s first South Regional victory in 2012. She also led CBU to the GSC Finals for the first time in school history in 2012. Welch graduated with a stellar 3.85 GPA in psychology, earning Dean’s List honors all eight semesters, and she was one of only two unanimous selections to the GSC Fall All-Academic Team this season. She has been CBU’s SAAC representative for three years, and she has spent the past two years as the GSC’s SAAC representative to the NCAA Division II SAAC. She has also been active in the community, volunteering at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital and Hope House, a daycare center for children affected by HIV.

Posted in Uncategorized

MEMPHIS — The CBU School of Engineering hosted a week-long summer program called “Future Women Engineers” for high school girls from various Memphis area schools. Dr. Divya Choudhary was the program coordinator.

Each day of the program, the students spent half the day in a hands-on engineering workshop. For the other half, they went on an industrial tour related to that particular area of engineering. The  half-day workshops were conducted by Dr. Choudhary (Electrical & Computer Engineering), Dr. Randel Price (Chemical Engineering), Dr. Paul Shiue (Mechanical Engineering), and Dr. Andrew Assadollahi (Civil Engineering) and Dr. Pong Malasri (Packaging workshop). Ms. Leslie Herlihy, Mr. Robert Moats, and Mr. Henry Rhodes helped with the program and workshops.

Only 40 girls were accepted into this competitive program. CBU engineering lab technician Bob Moats said that this program is a great opportunity for these students. “It is a wonderful program that exposes young smart people to something that they couldn’t get anywhere else. CBU is the only university equipped to do it. ”

The students also agree that the program is beneficial.

“I have learned a lot about how you can apply the experiments we learned in the industrial world,”said Phoebe Anderson, a sophomore at White Station High-School. “We went on tours to actually understand how these things work that we see and use every day.”

Destiny Blalock, a senior at Kipp Delta, traveled from Helena, AR to participate in the program. “The most important thing that I have learned this week is that engineering will always be around,” she said. There will always be jobs available because engineering is simply about creating things. I am most excited to really know that female engineering has emerged and will continue to do so in the future.”

The program was funded by CBU trustee, Mr. Richard Gadomski.

Pictured above
are Dr. Shiue,  Dr. Pong Malasri, Dr. Choudhary, Dr. Price and Dr. Assadollahi along with the participants of the program. Additional photos are in the gallery below:

Posted in Academics, Faculty & Staff, Press Releases, School of Engineering

Somali refugees and Peace of Thread volunteers at CBU.

MEMPHIS — Several local Somali women refugees are finding serenity within Peace of Thread to help combat a rocky past, while learning useful skills to help them adapt in their new homes.

Peace of Thread (POT) is a non-profit organization started in Atlanta, aiming to help women refugees who were uprooted from their countries to become self-reliant and confident in their new homes in the United States. Through this organization, these women are taught a common skill such as sewing, so that they can support their families, adapt and thrive in an unfamiliar place.

Christian Brothers University (CBU) recently opened its doors to ensure that this organization had a place to work for a week. During this time, POT had a safe and reliable place for the women refugees and their children to work and learn.

While learning to sew, these refugees are taught many different necessities such as social interaction through group outings, learning how to speak English and are also taught to handle simple banking needs. They even begin to learn the value of the American dollar through the sale of their items on the online Peace of Thread store, where the proceeds go right back into the organization.

“We want them to know that everyone is allowed to work hard for the American dream. This is their home now, they can’t go back,” said Denise Smith, founder of POT. “If Memphis will open up their hearts and help them become active parts of the community, we will change lives together.”

“Just as CBU prepares future leaders to engage in meaningful service, so too are we deeply committed to partnering with organizations who are working to improve the Memphis community,” said Wendy Sumner- Winter, Senior Director of External Affairs & Donor Relations for CBU. “We were so pleased to have the opportunity to host the women of Peace of Thread on the CBU campus. Their mission of empowering women to make a better life for themselves through entrepreneurship reflects the spirit of Lasallianism, which is the foundation of our own community.  As a member of the global network of Lasallian Institutions, which serves the populations from which these women have fled, it is fitting that we welcome them into their new country and new life,”

Mariam Mohamed, a recent nursing school graduate and POT volunteer says that her mother came to the United States in 2005 from Haramaya, Ethiopia and is in the program with seven children.

“As a single mom, this program is perfect for her. She can stay home with her children while gaining skills in making bags and purses,” Mohamed said. “Because of their cultures back home, most of them are happy to be able to have employment at home.”

POT has been in operation since 2011 and is supported solely by volunteers and donations. Memphis is the second city to help continue POT’s efforts. The Memphis program is under the leadership of Renee Lamb, who hopes that Memphis is receptive of POT and is willing to help.

“Most of all we need a consistent safe place to work once a week,” Lamb said. “We have a lot of sewing machines and would like to leave them some place safe. We need volunteers to help keep the children while the mothers are working and we need donations for supplies.”

POT’s founder Denise Smith says that growing up, she always wanted to change lives; she credits Mother Teresa.

“Mother Teresa was my hero, but then I realized that I am not her; I am Denise Smith. I am passionate about helping and changing lives. It is so rewarding to see a woman start to have a voice,” she said. “They don’t want a hand-out, they want to work.”

If you would like to volunteer or donate to Peace of Thread, please contact Memphis’ director Renee Lamb at To purchase Peace of Thread merchandise, visit

Posted in Lasallian, Memphis Community, Press Releases

MEMPHIS, TN — Dr. Siripong Malasri has been appointed Dean of the School of Engineering at Christian Brothers University (CBU). Malasri has already played a significant role within the CBU engineering program during his 25-year tenure as a faculty member, department chair, program director, and a previous term as dean. Malasri will be responsible for recruiting, budgeting, preparing reports, working with faculty and staff to develop a long-term strategy for the University, supervising and participating in the expansion of degree programs, and being the public face for the School of Engineering.

Malasri is excited to take on the challenge as dean and believes that CBU will see the benefit.

“I see several opportunities in taking CBU engineering to the next level,” he said. “Memphis is home of many great companies. We need to establish industry-university relationship in a more formal way. We have already done this quite successfully through the CBU Healthcare Packaging Consortium during the last four years. We also need to collaborate with other universities. By combining our strengths with other local institutions, we will be a greater asset to the Memphis community together.”

Malasri is also a Professor of Civil Engineering at CBU and serves as the Interim Director of the Graduate Engineering Program, Chair of the Packaging Department and Director of the Healthcare Packaging Consortium. He is a registered professional engineer in the State of Tennessee and is an ISTA certified packaging laboratory technologist. Malasri has authored various publications related to transport packaging, artificial intelligence and engineering education. Currently he serves as editor-in-chief for the International Journal of Advanced Packaging Technology.

Malasri holds a PhD in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University, as well as a master’s degree from the Asian Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand.

The CBU School of Engineering offers a 50+-year legacy of individualized engineering education with ABET accredited degrees in the four major engineering disciplines: chemical, civil, electrical and mechanical.  A CBU engineering education is distinguished by personalized interaction between students and faculty, a strong laboratory component in the curricula and an emphasis on real-world experience through hands-on design projects and internships.

For more information on the CBU School of Engineering, visit or call (901) 321-3405.

Posted in Academics, Administration, Press Releases, School of Engineering

Research overwhelming indicates happy employees are higher performers. With that in mind, Christian Brothers University (CBU) is offering Happiness 101 this summer, an online course designed for working adults.

The Happiness 101 course is being offered as a Business class through CBU’s new College of Adult Professional Studies and will be taught by Dr. Bevalee Vitali, an associate professor of management at CBU. The course is designed to be highly interactive, with discussions, activities and assignments all developed to promote happiness and well-being. Because the course is completely online, students can improve their happiness level in a convenient, non-threatening environment.

Study after study shows happier employees are more engaged, more motivated, more innovative, give better customer service, play more effective roles in teams and make better leaders. In fact, managers ignoring this research run the risk of costing their organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. For example, an organization with 100 happy workers will experience $15,000 less in costs from absenteeism, $27,000 less in expenses from turnover, and be $297,500 more productive than their unhappy competitors.

Happiness 101 will deal with not only psychological factors but also business philosophies and practices put forth in the “strengths movement” and studies into well-being by the Gallup company.

The goal of the course is to address happiness research from two perspectives. First, it will address how individual employees can improve their own happiness levels in order to become more effective at work. Behavioral interventions will be discussed which will improve mindfulness, engagement and performance, giving students an edge at work. Second, the class will discuss action plans and strategies for managers and organizational leaders to improve the happiness levels of all employees.

The College of Adult Professional Studies (CAPS) at CBU offers a course delivery model that utilizes in-class and online class time. The program is oriented more specifically to older professional students, with different degree paradigms requiring statistics, speech, math and English courses that are more immediately oriented to a business focus. The College offers two new baccalaureate degree programs, the Bachelor of Arts in Professional Psychology and the Bachelor of Science in Business Studies. Additionally, this fall CAPS will institute three new associate degree programs, the Associate of Arts in Psychology, the Associate of Arts in General Studies and the Associate of Science in Business Studies

For more information on Happiness 101, contact Dr. Bev Vitali at (901) 321-3578 or For more information on the CBU College of Adult Professional Studies, call (901) 321-3291 or visit

Posted in Academics, Adult Professional Studies, Faculty & Staff, Press Releases, School of Business